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Best Places to Go Camping in Tennessee

Father and son setting up camping tent

Regardless of whether you are a novice outdoorsman or an experienced camper, you will find a myriad of opportunities for camping in Tennessee. Check out our compilation of sites, which includes both the developed and primitive campsites that can be found in each of the state’s three regions.

East Tennessee

The Appalachian Mountains dominate East Tennessee and make a beautiful backdrop for camping. With the area’s crystal-clear creeks, scenic mountain vistas, vibrant waterfalls and fields of wildflowers, you can enjoy your time sleeping under the stars just about anywhere in East Tennessee.

One of the most popular places for camping in Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes camping opportunities for all experience levels. The park offers 10 developed front-country camping sites complete with amenities and RV hookups as well as dozens of backcountry camping sites and primitive shelters. You will need a reservation for developed sites, and backcountry campers must get permits from the park’s Backcountry Information Office.

Located in Kingsport, Warriors’ Path State Park offers excellent camping accommodations for families. You will find 134 developed campsites along with a pool, playgrounds, a lake, hiking trails, a disc golf course and horses. The park is located within a mile or two of grocery stores and other amenities. To reserve your spot, visit the campground’s website.

Middle Tennessee

The Cumberland Plateau makes up much of the eastern portion of Middle Tennessee. Further west, the land becomes less hilly, but camping opportunities abound near the Volunteer State’s lakes and rivers.

Fall Creek Falls State Park offers family-friendly campsites as well as zip lining, swimming, boating, golfing, hiking and horseback riding. The park has 222 developed sites with water, electricity, tables and grills, and most of the park’s campgrounds are handicapped-accessible. Backcountry campers can also take advantage of 16 primitive campsites within the park.

About 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, the Harpeth River area provides excellent hiking and camping in Harpeth River State Park. You will find paved tent sites and amenities like hot showers, dumping stations, picnic shelters and a playground. To get some quality time on the river, consider canoeing the 12 miles from the TN-250 Bridge to the various campsites.

Find out more about camping in Tennessee.

West Tennessee

The Natchez Trace Parkway winds its way through West Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The National Park Service maintains the route and provides three primitive campgrounds along the parkway. There is no electricity, but there are bathrooms with water available in the summer.

Additional campgrounds are available for those who are riding through on bicycles. Five bicycle-only campgrounds are spaced between 30 and 60 miles apart along the Natchez Trace. These sites offer picnic tables, tent pads, fire grates and restrooms.

With cabins for rent, a lodge, golf course, marina, restaurant and other amenities, Pickwick Landing State Park is a great place to camp. You can also take advantage of tent camping in 75 sites in the Bruton Branch Recreation Area. If you like to hike, you can explore Bear Creek Canyon, which is located just across the state line in Mississippi.

Regardless of which part of Tennessee you’re from or your camping comfort level, there are plenty of opportunities statewide when you want to find time to relax in the great outdoors.

Tell us, do you have a favorite spot to go camping?

Chelsea Adams

Chelsea Adams

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Simplify Camping for the Whole Family | BlueHealth Solutions

  2. Claire says

    We absolutely loved our family trip to Fall Creek Falls State Park! There were so many fun activities for the kids to do, they got completely immersed in the great outdoors! We told them that it would be a tech-free trip but they were so very reluctant to go on this trip (plus we had just got them this really cool bluetooth speaker from https://www.outeraudio.com/portable-bluetooth-speakers/ ) so they were still kind of obsessing over it. Anyways! We said they could bring along the speaker in the end just to keep the peace.. but you know what? They were so busy having fun that they didn’t even use it ONCE! I highly recommend Fall Creek Falls State Park!!

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